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Monday, September 9, 2013

Syria--Another Obama Success (Updated)

Over the last several weeks, I have seen dozens of articles discussing the destruction of Christian churches, and the targeted killing of Christians, all throughout the Middle-East and North Africa. Many of these attacks are against Christian communities that predate Islam. In Syria, rebels are threatening to kill any Christians that won't convert to Islam. Nevertheless, based on questionable evidence, Obama insists on supporting the rebels, even though a rebel victory would destabilize the Middle-East and provide a refuge for Al Qaeda. Specifically:

“Syria’s volatile mix of al-Qaeda extremism and civil war now poses the greatest threat to US national security,” Michael Morell, the Central Intelligence Agency’s second in command told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday [Aug. 7, 2013]. Morell is preparing to retire from his post Friday after 33 years of service. 
He assessed that there were now more foreign fighters joining al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists in Syria than there were in Iraq at the height of the war there. 
The government’s weapons “are going to be up for grabs and up for sale,” just as in Libya, he said. 
“It’s probably the most important issue in the world today, because of where it is currently heading,” and the potential for a massive spillover into Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, Morell added.
Norman Podhoretz explains at the Wall Street Journal that this is actually consistent with Obama's past statements of his intent to "fundamentally transform America":
... let me suggest that it signifies not how incompetent and amateurish the president is, but how skillful. His foreign policy, far from a dismal failure, is a brilliant success as measured by what he intended all along to accomplish. The accomplishment would not have been possible if the intention had been too obvious. The skill lies in how effectively he has used rhetorical tricks to disguise it. 
The key to understanding what Mr. Obama has pulled off is the astonishing statement he made in the week before being elected president: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." To those of us who took this declaration seriously, it meant that Mr. Obama really was the left-wing radical he seemed to be, given his associations with the likes of the anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright and the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, not to mention the intellectual influence over him of Saul Alinsky, the original "community organizer." 
... As a left-wing radical, Mr. Obama believed that the United States had almost always been a retrograde and destructive force in world affairs. Accordingly, the fundamental transformation he wished to achieve here was to reduce the country's power and influence. And just as he had to fend off the still-toxic socialist label at home, so he had to take care not to be stuck with the equally toxic "isolationist" label abroad. 
This he did by camouflaging his retreats from the responsibilities bred by foreign entanglements as a new form of "engagement." At the same time, he relied on the war-weariness of the American people and the rise of isolationist sentiment (which, to be sure, dared not speak its name) on the left and right to get away with drastic cuts in the defense budget, with exiting entirely from Iraq and Afghanistan, and with "leading from behind" or using drones instead of troops whenever he was politically forced into military action.
The consequent erosion of American power was going very nicely when the unfortunately named Arab Spring presented the president with several juicy opportunities to speed up the process. First in Egypt, his incoherent moves resulted in a complete loss of American influence, and now, thanks to his handling of the Syrian crisis, he is bringing about a greater diminution of American power than he probably envisaged even in his wildest radical dreams.
 
For this fulfillment of his dearest political wishes, Mr. Obama is evidently willing to pay the price of a sullied reputation. In that sense, he is by his own lights sacrificing himself for what he imagines is the good of the nation of which he is the president, and also to the benefit of the world, of which he loves proclaiming himself a citizen.
 Read the whole thing.

Update: Just as we are getting involved in further military adventures, Obama proposes capping raises for military personnel at 1%.

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